When I walked into my six-week check-up after I had my third child, I must have looked like a zombie because right away, my midwife said, “You’re in the trenches now. It’s hard I know. Sometimes I just want to tell my kids to shut the fuck. Just stop talking and shut the fuck up.”
Before I knew it, I felt like I was the doctor and she was the patient. With a six-week-old and two toddlers, I honestly had no idea what she was talking about. Yes, things were really hard around my house as we were getting used to having a third, but holy hell, I had never felt the urge to tell any of my kids to shut the fuck up. I mean, she said she would never actually utter those words to her kids; she just thought about it several times a day. But, still, the thought had never even crossed my mind, and honestly, I thought she was horrible for admitting it to me, and even worse for thinking it.
In hindsight, I know it was because I only had one child talking at the time.
Fast forward a few years and my oldest decided I was a walking encyclopedia, my middle child mastered the art of saying “no” over and over, and my youngest was constantly tugging on my shirt saying,”Mommy, mommy, mommy.”
And then I got it. Then I knew what my midwife had been talking about just a few years earlier. Because I caught myself thinking, Just shut the fuck up. Right now. Please, just stop talking to me for a few minutes. It’s all I need to feel like a human again. JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP NOW.
This went through my mind every single day — and still does. Okay, more like five times a day. And now I realize: my midwife was not horrible — she was human. Just like I am, and just like you are.
I felt guilty, because for a long time after that conversation with my midwife, I silently judged her for having those feelings. But the thing is, kids are loud. They talk a lot. And they don’t care if you are talking to someone else. If they have something to say, you are going to hear it. They don’t hold that shit in. They want you to know about the epic turd they just laid in the toilet at that exact moment. So we are left with no other choice than to want them to give us the gift of silence every now and again.
They don’t give a damn if their sister is asking to help her get glue out of her hair while I’m making dinner and their brother is begging you help him put a damn puzzle together. Kids know what they want and they are going to ask for it. They don’t hesitate to march right up to you in the middle of a shit show and try to yell above the cacophony of chaos.
And don’t even get me started on what happens when we try to talk on the telephone. That is always a signal for them to start a marching band and demand you give them a lesson on how dinosaurs became extinct.
It doesn’t matter if we give them the side-eye; they don’t see it. They will never see it, because they are too busy talking.
It doesn’t matter if we hold our finger up alerting them to shut it because we are in the middle of the most important call of our lives. They will wait exactly one second then think it is okay to proceed.
They don’t give a fuck if we have asked them in a nice way to please stop talking because we can’t think straight and need a moment. Just one flipping moment. They don’t know what a moment is, how long a moment is, or what it can do for us.
Because they are just kids who like to talk and want to be heard and are afraid their voice might not make it through everyone else’s. And we are constantly teaching them to wait to talk when there isn’t someone else talking. We are always reminding them not to interrupt. And we all ask our kids to play the game “Let’s see who can go the longest without talking.” Best. Game. Ever.
Because if we are being honest, we all just want our kids to shut the fuck up sometimes. And by “sometimes,” I mean lots of times. And that’s okay.